Spruce Moth

Other Common Names: Spruce bud worm
Scientific Name: Choristoneura occidentalis

Trust me--this is not a bug you want to see a lot of. The larvae--spruce bud worms--can defoliate vast expanses of western forests. On the other hand, where there are a lot of them on the water, trout will eat them. So in the short term they're good for fishing, but in the long term they'll de-nude the trees that are essential to good stream health.

Spruce moths are not aquatic, but if there's an outbreak in a forest near a stream, some will get blown onto the water. They don't float very well, and once they're wet they have a hard time leaving the water.

An Elk Hair Caddis makes a decent imitation in tan colors. The moth's wings spread a little more than for caddis, so a broad wing shape is good. Also, the moths are on the large side. Use standard dry fly tactics.

Due to their rare occurance in Oregon, most Oregon fly shops do not carry spruce moth imitations; thus they are not in Westfly's standard database. However, a local shop might have a recommendation if they are locally important.

 

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Characteristics

COLOR: Mottled brown and tan

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Scales on wings; scales come off when rubbed